Rejoice for the Truth

Earth from the Moon

Earth from the Moon

“We can forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

“When negative feelings move upon you, reflect, and recognize the danger of feeding those feelings and keeping them alive.” –Bryant McGill

“Owning your own feelings, rather than blaming them on someone else, is the mark of a person who has moved from contracted to expanded awareness.” –Deepak Chopra

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learn here.” –Marianne Williamson

In recent days I’ve been sick to my stomach about current events like, the decisions of the two Grand Juries made regarding the deaths of two black men, and the reports of torture that our government carried out in the years after 9/11. In fact, almost everyday there is some news story that makes my skin crawl. Maybe you feel the same way. It’s so easy to get discouraged about all the bad news. Yet, I have to rejoice. The truth is coming out!

In a way it’s like we’re doing an intervention for ourselves. A large number of people in this country are waking up to the fact that we had slid down that slippery slope toward evil with justifications that this police officer, or that official was only trying to protect the public, or the national interest. A growing number of everyday citizens aren’t buying that old excuse. They’re saying, “This isn’t right!” Other governments, regimes and groups down the ages have tried to cover up their misdeeds, all in the name of protecting the populace, or their business. We’re in a new era now, and those old shenanigans won’t work anymore.

A few days ago I finished reading I am Malala, our latest book club group selection. In my opinion it is a must read for everyone in the Western world. Most of us, and I mean mostly white people, have no idea what it’s like to live in fear for our lives every single moment, to have our freedoms restricted, and to witness terrible atrocities day after day. In the book Malala describes in compelling detail how the Taliban used insidious tactics to gain a foothold and then spread terror. While I was reading, it was almost as if I were living in her village, feeling the fear that my school would be bombed, or my friends and family killed. I dreaded reading the parts when she described walking to school and seeing the bodies of those the Taliban killed during the night piled among the rubble of bombed out buildings. We in this country haven’t had to face that amount of devastation, unless we’ve fought in a war.

While I was reading the book, it occurred to me that people who fear will go to the greatest of lengths to make themselves feel safe. And when they are steeped in the largest amount of fear, like the Taliban, or the ultra-conservatives in this country, there is no reasoning with them. Their minds and hearts are closed. They think that obstructing anything they see as threatening is going to make them feel better. Mistakenly, they think their fear comes at them from the outside so they try to make the fear go away by controlling events and people within their influence. So anyone who’s stuck in fear will do all they can to make themselves feel better. This is not a conscious decision you understand. It’s part of the fight-or-flight response.

We say that it’s human nature to react this way. But studies are showing that we can change that nature. We can change our feelings, and our ingrained patterns of thinking. People like Bruce Lipton, Nick Ortner, and organizations like the Heart Math Institute, have written about how we can turn away from fear toward love. It takes commitment and willingness to look into the dark places we’ve been avoiding. That’s why I’m grateful that the truth is coming out about the actions of corporation and our government. More and more people are willing to examine the situations that devalue human beings, and to speak up and call for accountability.

When we act out of fear, we’re not acting out of strength. Violence, external power, and the misuse of money show weakness. So how do we change the minds of those who are so gripped by fear? Their minds and ears are closed and their hearts are hardened. How do change that? We pray for them and send them love. The Dalai Lama says it better than I can. “Being concerned about other people is especially relevant in today’s world. If we consider the complex inter-connectedness of our modern lives, how we depend on others and others depend on us, our outlook will change. We’ll begin to see ‘others’ not as somehow distant from us, but as people we are in touch with, people close to us; we will no longer feel indifferent to them.” In other words, we are them, and they are us.

Today, as I write this, The Master Shift World Peace Meditation, narrated by Julian Lennon, is being launched. I hope they keep it on YouTube long enough for you to go experience this beautiful meditation. It can be the beginning of letting go of fear and realizing that we’re all connected. We can be instruments of a powerful shift from greed, hatred and terror, to peace. That’s part of my mission. To spread peace and love. Working to accept myself and find inner peace has been one of the most profound and exciting journeys of my life. Will you join me?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn

Giving Back

Library Book shelves

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” –H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Happiness … consists in giving, and in serving others.” –Henry Drummond

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” –Lao Tzu

As many of you who’ve been following for a while know, I’m getting my first novel, The Space Between Time ready for publication. (Thanks to all you new followers. I’m happy to welcome you to my blog.) The process of revising and editing my book has taken much longer than I thought it would. There is an upside to that, however. I’ve had time to grow my contacts via social media, some of those include fellow authors. This is the exciting part, because some of those authors have been kind enough to help me improve my work, or have offered to help me promote my book once it’s published.

One such person is Nicholaa Spencer. I don’t remember how we found each other. It was probably through WordPress. She has a blog and website which she uses to review the work of up-and-coming authors. Recently she proposed a blog tour to exchange promotion services. Those of us participating review and promote her book on our blogs and she would do the same for our work on her blog.

I was happy to agree to participate. Her book, Marrying A Wannabe Nun, is available in ebook format. The links are below.

The thing that I’ve enjoyed about my association with Nicholaa is that she’s open to suggestions about her own work, and she’s enthusiastic about helping others promote their books as well. She wants to give back to her fellow writers. That’s so important. None of us becomes a success by ourselves. We have to have help.

As I write this, I’m reading NIcholaa’s book and sending comments back. I love that about the ebook format, you can make improvements and resubmit the manuscript without having to pull old editions.

Two years ago my husband and I published a children’s book, Scottosaurus The Little Dinosaur, that I’d written and my husband illustrated as a gift for our oldest nephew. We published it through CreateSpace, which is a print-on-demand publisher, and later, when the technology advanced enough to be able to publish pictures, we published an ebook version on Smashwords. When we were getting the ebook version ready for publication, we realized the book needed some revisions. The corrections were so easy to make for both publishers, because there weren’t a pile of books waiting to be sold.

But back to Nicholaa’s book. Her story is about a wealthy U.S. businessman who, for reasons you’ll have to read the book to find out, sends his young daughter to Rome to live with her uncle who just happens to be a Priest. That situation in itself could make an interesting book, but Nicholaa has added a twist. Marcus calls his daughter Alynna, who was ready to become a nun, back to New York to marry her off into the Rothschild family so he can save his business. In this day and age, we might think that’s a bit old fashioned, but it’s the kind of situation that makes for an interesting romance novel.

Isn’t that the way life is for most of us anyway? Life presents us with twists and turns that surprise us and with which we must cope.

I’m happy to have connected with Nicholaa. She’s a writer, book reviewer, editor, and blogger. Her favorite authors are some of mine as well: Dan Brown, Ken Follett, Jude Deveraux, J.K. Rowling, and Julie Garwood. She recently went back to university to further her education in Information Technology, while continuing her writing career. She currently lives in The Philippines.

If you want to connect with her you can find her at any of the networks below.

Twitter: @NichSpencer
Facebook: Nicholaa Spencer
Website: nicholaaspencer.wordpress.com
Goodreads: Nicholaa Spencer

And if you want to read A Wanna Be Nun it’s available at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

I encourage you to find small ways to give back to the people you love and/or work with not only this holiday season, but in the year to come. Gifts come in all kinds of packages, not necessarily with wrapping paper and bows attached. I hope your holidays are rich with the gifts of the heart.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Gratitude

December 2, 2014 Western Horizon sunrise view

December 2, 2014 Western Horizon sunrise view

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –Melody Beattie

“Thank you is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding.” –Alice Walker

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero

November seems to be the month when many of my Facebook friends are inspired to post one thing they are grateful for each day. I think it’s good to focus on gratitude, even if it’s only one month out of the year. Focusing on gratitude shifts our eyes outward instead of inward, and it helps us see the beauty instead of all the things going wrong in the world. It also makes me happier to focus on things for which I’m grateful.

One day I was talking with some friends and I mentioned the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets I can enjoy from my home. One of the people sneered and said, “Yes, all that beautiful red is caused by the chemicals and particulates in the air. Who wants to be grateful for that.” I felt sad for her, because she almost never sees the beauty in anything. What a sad life she must live, not to be grateful for anything good that comes her way. That’s why sometime in 2013, I decided to dedicate an entire journal to gratitude. Each day I write three or four things for which I’m grateful and it’s been quite a life changing experiment.

Today, I awoke before sunrise and was blessed with the beauty of the sun turning the thin layer of clouds red, pink and gold. I remembered what that woman had said about what caused the colors, and I decided to take pictures of them and use them in today’s post. I’m grateful for the beauty of the earth. It’s one of the most simple blessings we have, yet most of the time we’re too busy to notice.

Anyway, after taking the pictures, my thought processes went from how some people have a hard time being grateful, to the time in my own life when I was extremely serious and closed off. I was wound up pretty tight, not wanting to make any mistakes. You see, I didn’t like myself very much and I thought that if I was as perfect as possible, no one would notice the flaws I knew lurked deep inside. I was pessimistic and cynical most of the time, just like the woman I mentioned above. Life was a chore for me then and not much fun. But little by little, I began to unwind the tight control I had on myself.

The first thing I did that helped was to dedicate myself to a year of volunteer service through a program sponsored by my church. Talents that I didn’t know I had emerged. That made me feel better about myself, and I began to feel the smallest bit of gratitude that I wasn’t such a terrible creature after all.

As the years rolled by, I found more things for which I was grateful. When I began keeping a journal at the age of twenty-four, I got the idea to end my entries thanking God for all the love and support that was guiding me along my life journey. This opened my eyes to a larger world of things for which I could be grateful.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but eventually I realized that I liked who I’d become. I wasn’t perfect. I’d made plenty of mistakes throughout my life, but practicing gratitude allowed me to stop focusing so much on myself and my mistakes. What’s more, I noticed that everyone has some burden to bear, and dark places within that need healing. No one is perfect and trying to pretend that you are is exhausting.

A few months ago, one of my spiritual teachers challenged his readers to write three things that we were grateful for every day for two or three weeks. We had to pick three completely new things each day, no repeats were allowed. I took up the challenge, because, even though I was writing in my gratitude journal every day, I noticed that I was repeating myself quite a bit. My practice needed some revitalization.

Doing that was a shot in the arm for my personal growth. There are so many things big and small that we’re blessed with everyday. Noticing them leads us to lots of other wonderful things. For example, gratitude leads us to self-love, healing and finding our purpose. It leads us out of the dark times, or helps us cope with them when they come. Gratitude helps us discover new talents we didn’t know we possessed. It lightens our load and helps us have more fun.

I’m grateful that I let go of my cynicism, self-hatred and fear of being discovered. My life now is so much richer and happier. And when challenges present themselves, instead of yelling at God, I look for the lesson being presented to me.

What are the hidden things you can be grateful for throughout the holiday season, and beyond?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

December 2, 2014 sunrise over the San Jose Mountains

December 2, 2014 sunrise over the San Jose Mountains

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Changing My Mind

Tarantula Nebula

Tarantula Nebula

“Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.” – Ali ibn abi Talib

“Contemplate these words: Nothing matters, and you think it does.” – Neale Donald Walsch

For nearly five years, my husband and I have been paying off our credit card debt. Life has been quite difficult. I know some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not having money made us feel constrained. There was no possibility for travel, or any extras. Sometimes even things that were necessary had to wait. These five years, I’ve had to delve deeply into my attitudes about money. So often the things that hold us back are a result of beliefs we picked up as children and because we believe them without question, it’s hard to shake them off. Many of my money beliefs held me back. I didn’t believe I deserved to have money. I thought the amount of money I had defined who I was as a person and I thought that being prosperous took affluence away from others. None of that is true.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I was beginning a tapping regimen to dig up some of those destructive thought patterns I’d accepted as truth. It’s amazing how much I’m changing because of concentrated effort to get myself straight about the purpose of money and my relationship to it.

Something I learned early in this journey was that I am NOT defined by personal possessions, the amount of money I have in the bank, or even my accomplishments. Just getting clear about that was a big relief. However, that wasn’t the end of my awakening, though for a while, I thought it was.

We’re each so much more than we show the world in our everyday lives. Some of us sense that. We know on some level that the things we do in our day-to-day lives doesn’t really matter to the Soul. We’re expanding through experiencing life, and that’s what matters. Others take life at face value and believe that the events that happen to them personally and the events out in the world, are all there is. They don’t believe there is anything more. I feel sorry for them for they must live what Ralph Waldo Emerson calls “lives of quiet desperation”. Maybe they are happy. I can’t say, since I’ve always felt that there is much more to living than can be perceived with my six senses.

I’m describing humans, who really defy description, as having an either/or approach to life. That’s not really fair, but for the purposes of my point, perhaps you will forgive me.

Anyway, for those of us who are seekers, we’re often rewarded with the perfect tool, or lesson, or friend, or teacher, when we need them most. And I was blessed just at this turning point in my life with the tapping technique and a focused meditation that have helped me dig down to those detrimental buried beliefs that I picked up along the way. As I tap, send Reiki to myself, and meditate, I see the error in concepts and beliefs that I’ve held as true for so long. I pick up each one, examine it to see if it fits who and where I am now. If it fits, I keep it. If not, I let it go. What is required is a change in perspective. That sounds easy enough, but if you’ve tried to change anything about your life, you know it takes a concentrated effort before the new habit, or attitude takes hold.

When I chose this undertaking to change my attitudes about money, I had a big obstacle to overcome. For years I’ve felt a huge block between me and money. It was almost like a physical wall inside my head. Whenever I dared dream of becoming prosperous in whatever endeavor I happened to be working on, that wall would loom large. It seemed insurmountable. I felt, for some reason, like I wasn’t meant to be successful, and have money flow to me easily. What’s more I couldn’t imagine what it felt like to never worry about money. This is the one thing I’ve been working on these five years. I’m happy to say, that with the help of the tools I’ve been given and determination to change my perception, the wall is coming down.

Even though I’ve made that big breakthrough, I’ve got more tangled emotions around money that need to be changed and healed. Just today in my meditation it came to me that I’ve held onto the belief that if I’m successful, or prosperous, that someone else is deprived. Intellectually, I know that’s hogwash. But, the thing about belief systems is they get handed down generation after generation and the idea that there isn’t enough of anything to go around is a pernicious belief that just isn’t true. What’s so bad about this particular belief system, is that we blame those who HAVE, for the poverty of those who DON’T HAVE. So, all these years, I’ve blamed people who are so much more prosperous than I am, when where I really needed to look was at myself and my beliefs about success and money. The bottom line about that is: I didn’t think I deserved it. The focus for my next stage in my healing process, is to allow myself to know that there is abundance enough for all of us. I won’t have to feel guilty about the success that I create. I can be an example for others of how to find their own success.

I’m grateful for the shifts in perception I’ve had so far. I’ll keep you posted when more insights come my way.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn

Musings

July Moonrise - 1…that to find beauty in everyone you must see beauty in everyone, then announce that you see it for, in announcing it, you place it there in their reality. –Neale Donald Walsch

“Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own.” – Barbara Kingsolver

Sometimes it’s the pits being a highly empathetic person. Just lately I’m exhausted because of it. No matter where I go, people are complaining about this, that and the other thing. They want other people to change so they can feel better, or they want this, or that from the Government. I want to scream and tell them they need to stop looking outside themselves for the things that will make them feel better. It’s only possible to find happiness and peace by doing your inner work. I’ve even written many a blog post about this topic hoping to influence my readers, so that our inner healing, will affect an outer healing. Most of the time I feel like I’m beating my head against a stone wall. I’m discouraged about that.

Then a couple of Sunday’s ago I was listening to Marianne Williamson and Oprah having a discussion on Super Soul Sunday. They were talking about Marianne’s recent political aspirations. She ran for Congress, and though she didn’t get enough votes to be nominated, the experience taught her a great deal about our political process. She’s been speaking, and posting things in Facebook about the need for us to become more active in changing our political landscape. Most of us feel beaten down by the system, which makes us apathetic. But, Marianne is calling us to action. Being a Baby Boomer, I automatically felt that I needed to be demonstrating on the streets, marching, and doing all those things I didn’t get to do as a teenager during the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements and the protests against the Vietnam War. I felt guilty about spending so much time working in private to become a more wholehearted, open and loving person.

So, today I was going to use my metaphorical pen to urge you to action. Then, I was reminded of something my father used to say: “You can’t change other people’s minds. You can only be a good example.” He was right. We each have our own path. Caroline Myss calls it our sacred contract. In fact she wrote an entire book about that. Anyway, while thinking about all my mixed up feelings and what’s happening in our country these last years, and what I can do to help bring about positive change, I decided that I’m going to stop preaching and just go back to being quiet, and doing my own spiritual work. I’ve never been one of those dynamic people who can rally thousands to their cause. I’m like my Dad. He influenced people just by being who he was, and he did that a few people at a time. Over a lifetime, he influenced a lot of people. When I decided that, I remembered something else that Marianne has said for years. Find your purpose and use it to change yourself and the world. My purpose is to interpret my personal perspective into the things I write. You can take or leave what you read here. There may be times when someone will be touched by my reflections. To influence one person for the better is a tremendous gift to the world. I’ll be happy with that.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn

Cynical No More

Arizona Butterfly

Arizona Butterfly

“…that the sage awakes to light in the night of all creatures. That which the world calls day is the night of ignorance to the wise..” –The Bhagavad Gita

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” –Buddha

“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness.” –The Bhagavad Gita

“I won’t let others stoke fear in my heart. I choose to remain true to who I am and where my dreams direct me, no matter the hardship I might incur. I remember it always: Fear wins or Freedom wins, and I choose Freedom.” –Brendon Burchard from page 49 of his book The Motivation Manifesto

As you might guess from all the quotes I chose today, I’m trying to make sense of what happened with the elections. I’m not too proud to say I was devastated, then angry and afraid. What’s going to happen to all the gains we’ve made in the last six years? I wanted to punch someone, scream …  and yell at God, “How could you let this happen?” Then quiet-calm came over me and I started to think more clearly.

We have a choice: We can follow the old us-against-them paradigm, OR we can turn away from that idea and create a grass-roots peaceful revolution and build a completely new society. We can continue to live in fear and think that those with the external power are stronger than those of us without it, OR we can look around our communities and find something that we have the power to address, roll up our sleeves and get to work. We can be cynical, my personal favorite when bad things happen, OR we can turn away from calling those who don’t agree with us all manner of nasty names, and just send them love. I’m choosing love.

A dear college friend of mine, Marjie Siegfried Foster, posted a similar manifesto on Facebook on Friday. Here’s what she wrote: “It is not okay to label people and then insult them. When we call any group of people names – those ‘stupid Democrats’ or those ‘hateful Republicans’ or ‘those lazy people on welfare’ or ‘those bigoted whites/blacks/immigrants’ or whatever – we are calling our neighbors, family members, friends, and colleagues those names. Would you really look me in the eye and call me stupid or hateful or lazy, just because I happen to ‘belong’ to one of the narrowly-defined demographic groups that’s been created by the media or by a political party or by you? Or do you have the courage to get to know me, to love me despite (or because of) our differences, to understand that it is our diversity that creates opportunities for collaboration? The polarizing name-calling, the labeling, the vitriolic language … all serve no purpose other than creating more division, building more walls, and hurting our fellow human beings. What happened to United We Stand? I’m standing here. Who stands with me on this?”

Marjie stated so beautifully exactly what I was feeling. Take a moment to think: Who benefits from the divisions we’re experiencing now? Do you really want those who hate and fear to have the power? We’ve been hypnotized into thinking our darker feelings are so much stronger, but they’re not. Love and light are so much more powerful. We can help dispel the darkness by facing our own fears, turning toward the light, and sending love and light out into the world.

To help make the change in the world, I’m resolved to change my thinking isn’t going to happen over night. I know from experience that I’ll fall back into name calling. When that happens, I’ll have to acknowledge what I’ve done and make a conscious effort to change my outer and inner dialogue. I can’t get away from the fact that, I am the only one in charge of my actions and thinking.  My real power, and yours lies in taking control of our actions and our thinking. So, I’m going to use my authentic power to stop being cynical. I’m going to stop calling people I don’t agree with names, even in the privacy of my head. I’m going to search out opportunities to get to know my neighbors and I’m going to help solve problems in my community. And finally, every day, I’m going to send Reiki and prayers of love to our country and the people who run it. As Gandhi said, I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world. Will you join Marjie and me?

One last quote for your consideration: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth. –William Faulkner. I’ll keep raising my “voice” every week in this blog.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn

A Dish of Forgiveness All Around

Chapel of the Red Rocks

Chapel of the Red Rocks

“When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear …. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.” –Gerald G. Jampolsky

“When you know better, you do better.” –Maya Angelou

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I’m a fan of Super Soul Sunday on OWN. Last Sunday, Oprah’s guest was one of my favorite teachers and authors, Marianne Williamson. They began talking about Marianne’s campaign for nomination as a Congressional candidate, but late in the discussion their conversation turned to the violence in Ferguson, Missouri and what that’s all about. Oprah brought up an article that Marianne had written for the Huffington Post. You can click the link and go read it for yourself. I don’t want to rehash what Marianne has already written so beautifully. What I do want to write about is the mental and emotional journey I’ve been taking since listening to Marianne and Oprah’s discussion.

First of all let me state that I am a white person. I was raised to believe that EVERYONE deserves to be treated with respect, so some of the discussions that have been going on lately about how white people need to take a good look at their attitudes about racism, rubbed me the wrong way. But Oprah and Marianne’s discussion got me thinking about forgiveness. Slavery was one of the most horrendous episodes in our nation’s history. Another one is how we treated the Native Americans. White people, for the most part, were behind both of those terrible situations. I think Marianne is right, white people don’t want to think of the horrible things that whites did in our country’s past. Most of us think that we weren’t alive then, so it has nothing to do with us.

But here’s the thing, we’ll never heal our racial wounds if we don’t forgive ourselves for our impulse to ignore what happened. We can’t expect anything to get better if we don’t take responsibility for what’s happening right now. And what’s happening right now is, whites want to point to the Civil Right’s Movement of the 60s and 70s and say, “It’s already been healed. The laws have been passed, we’re all equal now.” As we’re seeing in recent events, that’s just not true. The discussion and practice to make everyone equal is far from over.

So, I take responsibility for my assumption that African American’s just needed to forgive us and move on, and for not forgiving myself and my ancestors for what they may have done. We as white people need to stop glossing over our discomfort with what has happened to African and Native Americans due to white aggression and greed. We need to look into those dark places and expose our true feelings about the differences of race and culture in this country. We need to acknowledge that we’re not the top of the heap, and in reality, never have been.

If we’re going to survive the myriad problems we face right now, we need to do some deep soul searching and forgive ourselves and then others. We’ve got to stop letting the past get in our way of creating a new future.

This blog is my public declaration that I’m committed to healing and forgiving myself for not acknowledging the deep wounds caused by white people in our country’s history. I’m with Marianne and support any efforts our government makes to make reparation to any group that we’ve wronged. Making reparation is our collective acknowledgement of what happened, and that we want to make it as right as possible and build a new future together.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn

Having Money Give Options

Julia working at the wheel

Julia working at the wheel

“Without Freedom, creativity cannot flourish. The right to freedom is crucial to progress in any society; and the context is having a sense of global responsibility.” –Dalai Lama

“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” –Nelson Mandela

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” –Mark Twain

This past weekend The Pottery Studio At Sierra Vista, which evolved out of my husband’s pottery classes, held their seventh annual Empty Bowls Project fund raiser. To find out more about the history of how The Empty Bowls Project got started, click here.  It’s now an international movement of loosely organized, local groups. Each group solicits donations of handmade pottery bowls, soup and bread. Those attending the event, pick out a bowl, give a suggested donation of $10 and then they sit down to a simple meal of soup and bread. The handmade bowls are a reminder that there a many bowls that remain empty in our communities. The funds raised go to local food banks.

The studio in our town is located inside one of the community centers run by the city, which supports and sponsors our local Empty Bowls Project every year. We’re fortunate to live in a generous community that has helped the project become a must attend event each year.

To give you a perspective on how much our little event has grown, the first year there were about 200 donated bowls and about $2,000 dollars was earned. All proceeds were given to local food banks. Over the past 7 years many people have become involved to make the event a success. Schools, the local community college and individual artists donate their talents at special events to create the bowls, and each year more local restaurants donate soup and bread. By comparison, this year, over 2,000 bowls were donated, and about $15,000 was raised. For a community of between 50,000 and 65,000 people, if you count the outlying areas, that’s a huge amount of growth. Needless to say, our county agencies can use all the help they can get.

I don’t think the county I live in is much different than others around the country. There are a lot of people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and a large percentage of those people are children. $15,000 will be a big help, but it won’t stretch to feed all the hungry people in our area for long.

On Sunday, after the Empty Bowls event, Barry gave a talk about the Project at the Unitarian Universalist church. During the talk, I overheard one gentleman say, “It’s sad that we live in the wealthiest country in the world and yet there are so many homeless and hungry people.” That is sad. But it doesn’t need to be our story. We can change it by rolling up our sleeves and getting to work, healing our inner money issues, and helping each other.

I wrote all of the above to help you understand the point of this post. To be free each person needs enough money so that they don’t have to worry about having enough food, a decent place to live, clothes on their bodies, proper health care, and all the other essentials of a good life. I get that because Barry and I have been struggling with money issues our entire married life. That’s why I decided to begin the tapping regimen that I mentioned last week. There have been times when Barry and I had to decide between paying a bill or buying groceries. We’ve never been destitute. We’ve always had a roof over our heads. But, to get just a taste of the struggles some people experience for long periods of time, makes me feel compassion for them.

Something we don’t often think about is that struggles with money are not just about earning a living wage. They’re also about finding your place in the world, and fulfilling your purpose.

For the last five years, Barry and I have been paying off our credit cards. It’s part of our long term plan to find financial freedom. During that time, we’ve been living within our means. It’s been a hard, but good lesson. Now we are on the verge of having surplus money and as a result, we’ve been talking about how to best use it. On the way home from church, we decided that we can give a monthly donation to our local food banks. This will help families who struggle each month to put food on the table.

To give food to people in need is one thing, but we decided we also need to support agencies that help provide education. We believe the old saying, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” With proper education, many struggling families can find not only higher paying jobs, but self-esteem and hopefully their true purpose.

Of course there are so many other problems around this issue that need to be addressed, like raising the minimum wage, providing low income housing to more families and the like. However, one person can only do so much. It’s better to address one or two problems than to get overwhelmed and not do anything.

I’m glad to say that now that I’m seeing money in a new way, I feel more generous. For a long time when I got money, I wasn’t sure when I’d be getting more, so I hoarded it. I know now there is always more money on it’s way to me, which makes me more determined to share what I’ve got.

Barry and I are using our talents and our money to help people have enough food to eat and education to help them feel better about themselves. How will you help?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn

Calla Lilies

Suffering is Optional

Calla Lilies

Calla Lilies

“Let us never allow our daily doubts or private fears to blind us to the blessings all around.” –Brendon Burchard

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” –Carl Jung

“The only difference between heaven and hell is believing a thought.” –Byron Katie

Sometimes the cosmic tumblers fall into place and the door opens up to a new level of growth and healing. This recently happened for me. For years I’ve been working to clean up all the beliefs that I learned growing up that no longer serve my present life. I thought I was pretty close to being finished with that phase of growing into my full potential, but wouldn’t you know it, I got hit in the face with a big road block that I thought I’d healed these past few years.

About a year ago, I was introduced to The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. Tapping is a way to reprogram your brain to release old, long-held beliefs that no longer serve you, or that have been holding you back. It’s also a great way to heal physical conditions or pain that you might be experiencing. I’ve used it off and on since my introduction to it and I’ve had fantastic results.

Last week I saw an invitation on Facebook from Nick to a free webinar about using Tapping to heal money issues and gain true abundance. I knew this was a teaser for a web course, but I decided to attend the webinar anyway. Tapping had been working for me in other areas of my life, why not see if it would help me get over the last humps of my money blocks. I decided not to sign up for the course, however, I did learn great techniques from the webinar. I’m going to use them to take another step on my healing journey.

As we practiced the tapping techniques, I was surprised to find a much larger network of beliefs, some of them long forgotten, about money that have been holding me back. I took the worksheet that Nick so generously gave us for free and began to dismantle those old beliefs. Each day tapping is part of my morning regimen. I record the shifts in my consciousness in my journal, and send Reiki to myself to help speed this process along.

I was reminded about how much suffering I can endure. It’s sad that most of us have learned to bury our pain deep inside and cover it over thinking that’s the best way to deal with it; that if we do that we won’t have to face the pain and suffering ever again. That’s not what happens, though.

I wish I could remember which spiritual teacher said, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” In my case, I’ve been choosing to believe something about my relationship with money that’s not true. And my husband and I have suffered because of those erroneous beliefs.

As I was thinking about this post, I was reminded of the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that illustrates so perfectly where I am in my life.

Commander Benjamin Sisko is assigned to clean up a situation in a far outpost of the Federation at a space station, Deep Space Nine. It orbits the planet Bajor. Benjamin has recently lost his wife in a terrible battle. He’s emotionally wounded. When he arrives he finds that the Bajorans are a very spiritual people and their government is run by spiritual leaders. He’s surprised to find one of the leaders, Kai Opaka, has come to inform him that his coming was foretold. He is the long awaited emissary. Of course, he’s skeptical. But when Kai Opaka presents him with the Tear of the Prophet, a mysterious looking orb, and he touches it, he enters an alternate reality where he has conversations with the Prophets. They ask him questions about his life. To his frustration, they take him back, again and again, to the moment of his wife’s death. They’re curious about these images he holds in his consciousness. He asks the Prophets why they keep taking him back to this moment in his life that is so painful. Their answer: “You exist here.” Sisko has been unable to heal after his wife’s death, so he relives the moment he found her, and realizes he can’t save her. The pain is so great, he can’t get past it. It’s in that confrontation with the Prophets that he knows he’s been torturing himself by being unwilling to face losing his beloved wife. He can’t face building a new life for himself and his son without her. This encounter with the Prophets helps him choose healing over repeated suffering.

I don’t think I’m alone in doing what the character Benjamin Sisko did in the TV show. I’ve been living with a certain set of beliefs about myself and money. I’ve been blocking a more prosperous and fulfilling life for myself. Experience has taught me that sometimes we hold onto our suffering thinking we deserve it, or if we deal with our pain, we’re being disloyal to those we’ve lost. Or we can’t see the path before us without the pain and suffering. We can’t imagine a better life. Sometimes we believe we will never be happy again. There are lots of reasons why we get emotionally and mentally stuck. I’ve been stuck and I’ve decided to allow myself to move on.

As Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” I find that idea comforting. I get a second and a third chance to improve my life by dealing with the issues that I’ve not yet finished healing. Now is the time for me to finish the work of healing my relationship with money. Who knows what issues I’ll be healing this time next year.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn

Fear and Decisions

Fear“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” –Pema Chodron

“Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Fear is a liar. It whispers in our ear that if we control that person, circumstance or situation, we’ll feel better. But fear lives inside not outside of us. So when your attempts to control outside events fail, it grows into a monster threatening to eat us alive. It cripples all aspects of our life, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, unless its faced. I know this from personal experience.

There have been times in my life when I made a choice based on fear’s advice. One instance was when, as a new college graduate, I took a job I knew in the pit of my stomach was not the right situation for me. Fear said, “Take the job. You might not get another offer. You need the money.” Foolishly I listened and for two years I worked for a toxic company. It was only when I nearly had a nervous breakdown, as we used to call them, that I woke up and faced my fear. Leaving that supposedly secure position was one of the best decisions of my life.

Elections are a prime time for politicians and commentators to spew fear. Natural disasters, war, or health threats are other times when fear whispers to those vulnerable to its call. Right now we’re in a vortex of events where, in my mind, Fear is rejoicing that there are so many people to feed upon. That’s a metaphor I chose on purpose. Fear feeds upon us.

I want to make it clear, we ALL feel fear from time-to-time. We can’t escape that fact. However, we can reduce or eliminate it with practice.

This is what I’ve learned in my process of facing fear. Its not strong. We think of fear as all powerful. Maybe because of the powerful emotions it evokes. But fear can’t stand up to scrutiny. When I’ve allowed myself to face my fear fully, then look beyond it to the myriad possibilities that fear is trying to hide from me, it dissolves. Not all at once, but the more I turn away from my fear, the more it shrinks.

There have been a number of times in my life when I know my family, and even some of my friends did not understand the choices I made. They thought I was crazy. Quitting my teaching job to become a writer, selling my house to fund a trip around the world, quitting that first job that was so toxic to get my Master’s in theatre. Oh, I’m sure many of my family members still shake their heads at the choices I’ve made.

But the thing is, it’s the people who look fear in the face that we admire. I admire Gabby Giffords, who was my Congresswoman, and now advocates for stricter gun regulations. Malala Yousafzai who promotes education for girls all over the world. The fearful tried to silence them by shooting them, but when they didn’t die, those two women became more powerful than ever before.

There are so many other people who’s names we don’t know, who are facing fear every day and winning. They are becoming powerful and doing great and creative things that contribute to all of humanity. We need them all if we’re going to create a new way to live that is more loving, more sustainable, more joyful.

We can’t control events outside ourselves. All we can control is our response to what happens to us. We can control our response to fear. Remember that when you go into the voting booth in a few weeks, or choose what to watch on TV or which pundits to listen too. Are they spreading fear, or hope?

It’s my prediction that the tide will turn away from fear. That we’ll take responsibility for embracing hope and love instead. That we’ll accept that life is unpredictable which makes living exciting. There can be a bright future ahead of us, if we choose it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
LinkedIn